In the conflict with Israel, one must practice enough balance in terms of discourse. It is natural for countries to constantly seek to differentiate their internal discourse from the discourse aimed at international parties.
While we seek to mobilise the public, prepare our social bases to embrace armed action and show solidarity with the resistance of the occupation, push the people towards confrontation, prolong their steadfastness, and raise the morale of the people and the fighters, we must not lose sight of the international discourse and its impact on the public opinion in our regional and international surroundings. This is because addressing countries, organisations and bodies has a profound impact on delivering our messages and exposing the truth about what is happening in Palestine, especially the crimes and violations committed by the violent Israeli forces day and night.
The Israeli war machine has killed and wounded many innocent victims and caused tremendous destruction in buildings, establishments and media institutions because it seeks to increase the pressure on the Palestinian resistance and force it to surrender. It also craves to satisfy the desire of Israeli extremists to shed more blood and create a tragic reality for the Palestinians. They have made the Palestinian arena a testing ground for deadly and destructive weapons that tore apart the children in the Gaza Strip. The world forms its opinions, convictions and positions based on reality and the picture painted before them.
While some countries appear to be biased in favour of Israel due to considerations related to relations, interests and alliances, uncovering the facts and the ability to influence the formation of the world public opinion in favour of the Palestinian rights is an important field that we must work in and keep alive by changing the language and vocabulary used in our discourse. We must also be extremely accurate in reporting the correct image and surrounding our narrative with rules and concepts that can be understood by the international community and Western media agencies. We must steer clear of threats of demise, destruction and a thirst for revenge.
We must be keener than others to establish the concepts of self-defence and retaliation against attacks, as well as to highlight our modest capabilities and tools we use to resist and defend ourselves against the Israeli military arsenal. The world and all those concerned with the freedom of nations, as well as human rights organisations’ response to narratives should utilise the language of victims of oppression and sympathise with the victims, forming their positions to some extent based on this.
Israel is very aware of how it must act in the international arena and it uses its policies, diplomacy and even media to promote its narrative in which it flips the facts, portraying itself as a sacrificial lamb and a state that defends itself and is subject to attacks from Palestinian saboteurs and terrorists, according to its claims. Israel makes sure it portrays an image that it chooses very carefully in order to corroborate its claims of fear and panic of settlers and pictures of the damage done to its civilian facilities. It went as far as to accuse the Palestinian resistance of causing the death of some Palestinian children during their acts of resistance and justifying their targeting of civilian residential buildings by claiming they are used for military purposes to attack Israel. Meanwhile, the Israeli army deliberately uses studied discourse and language in its statements, such as “our forces attacked targets belonging to the terrorist organisation Hamas” or use the phrase “Israeli army retaliates rocket fire”.
Hence, the Palestinians must make sure to remain balanced in order not to lose their narrative but also not to pay the price even more dearly. They must use their tools and capabilities to thwart the constant Israeli efforts to reverse the facts. It is time for the Palestinian narrative to expand and reach every forum and circle and to head every front page, website, statements and international positions.
This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 10 May 2019
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.